Obituary Listings

Norma Smith Kates
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Obituary for Norma Smith Kates

Norma Smith Kates died peacefully in her home on Saturday, June 2, 2018, in Lafayette, La., surrounded by her family. She was 87.

She is survived by her husband, James M. Kates, and her three sons: Curtis R. Kates and wife, Laura Perry Kates, of Houston TX; Paul G. Kates and wife, Cindy Osborne Kates, of Waller, TX; and David J. Kates and wife, Kelly Williston Kates, of Littleton, CO, as well as nine grandchildren and twenty great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents Evie Buzbee and James Curtis Smith of Atlanta, TX.

Born Norma Faye Smith on June 27, 1930, in Brightstar, AR, she graduated from Jefferson High School in Jefferson, TX. She attended East Texas Baptist College before marrying James Kates in 1949 and graduating from Louisiana State University with a bachelor’s degree in English in 1951. At a young age she discovered her lifelong passion for the Spanish language, which led her to travel internationally and eventually earn a master’s degree in Spanish from the University of Southwestern Louisiana.

After graduating from LSU, Norma taught high school English in Agua Dulce, TX. Norma and James lived in many oil field towns in Texas and Louisiana, eventually settling in Lafayette in 1971.

Norma was a distinguished student and was honored as homecoming and football queen in high school and college. She was a pianist at revivals as a young woman. A devoted mother and homemaker, she loved entertaining friends and family in her home, frequently extending her warm hospitality to international students and immigrant families. She never met a stranger. Norma’s personal relationship with Jesus Christ as her Savior was expressed in many ways as an active member of First Baptist Church of Lafayette. She was a dedicated supporter of numerous charities and East Texas Baptist University.

Graveside services will be 2:00 pm, Thursday, June 7, 2018, at Olive Branch Cemetery in Brightstar, AR, under the direction of Hanner Funeral Service. A memorial service will be 11:00 am, Saturday, June 9, 2018, at First Baptist Church of Lafayette, LA. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to First Baptist Church Lafayette, designated for foreign missions.

In her final years, Norma was given exemplary, loving care by her loving husband and two extraordinary healthcare professionals, Ms. Elizabeth Riddle and Ms. Nancy LeLeux.

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Previous Events





2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Olive Branch Cemetery

2675 AR-160
Doddridge, Arkansas 71834

Cemetery Details


Olive Branch Cemetery

2675 AR-160
Doddridge, Arkansas 71834


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